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If you’re going to move; move en masse like these Merrill bankers

Domestic banks: a safer option?

Domestic banks: a safer option?

There’s fear in the employment market right now, but it’s not just that people are anxious about being laid off at their current firm; many don’t want to move to another bank, where their jobs may be even more in jeopardy. Call it the clichéd “last in first out” syndrome if you like.

This is one of the main reasons that recruiters and HR people aren’t reporting much turnover during the current bonus season at international banks in Hong Kong and Singapore. With job security more of a factor than it was a year ago, candidates need a lot of convincing before they will leave the comfort of an established position.

There are of course exceptions – certain bankers (usually very good ones) are still being recruited. And there’s an interesting trend emerging from all of this: moving en masse is becoming more popular, according to headhunters.

Just last Friday, reports Finance Asia, six debt bankers resigned from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and are reportedly going to ANZ to join Michael Luk, who was BoA Merrill’s head of debt capital markets until he left in August 2011.

By taking on a whole (or part of) a team, the new firm is showing that it truly values the talent. Why else embark on a costly multiple hire?

From a candidate perspective, it also helps if working for your old boss (Luk, for example) is part of the deal. He or she is likely to see you as an established performer, not a newcomer in the firing line.

Mass moves make sense for many reasons – the ability of a team to gel together from day one is high on the list – but for candidates in today’s market, it’s also about safety in numbers.

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